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Perfectionist liberalism has been defined by Charles Larmore (1987) as the "family of views that base political principles on 'ideals claiming to shape our overall conception of the good life, and not just our role as citizens.'" Joseph Raz popularised those ideas.
For Raz, at the centre of his perfectionist liberalism are autonomy and moral pluralism and the approach can be contrasted with political liberalism. Martha Nussbaum (2011) notes that elsewhere Larmore (1997) argues that "these views involve controversial ideals of the good life, or views about 'the ultimate nature of the human good.'"
For Nussbaum, perfectionist liberalism "is a species of a genus of liberal views that might be called “comprehensive liberalisms”". For Nussbaum these "liberalisms that base political principles on some comprehensive doctrine about human life" cover "not only the political domain but also the domain of human conduct generally."
- Nussbaum, M. C. (2011), Perfectionist Liberalism and Political Liberalism. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 39: 3–45.
- Larmore, Charles (1987) Patterns of Moral Complexity, Cambridge University Press
- Larmore, Charles (1996) The Morals of Modernity, Cambridge University Press
- Raz, Joseph (1987) Autonomy, Toleration, and the Harm Principle, in Issues in Contemporary Legal Philosophy, edited by Ruth Gavison, Oxford University Press, pp. 313–33